Roger Federer is more likely to win a Slam in 2021 than Serena Williams: Ben Rothenberg

Serena Williams and Roger Federer
Serena Williams and Roger Federer
Modified 10 Dec 2020

Renowned journalist Ben Rothenberg believes Roger Federer has a better chance of winning a Major in 2021 than fellow all-time great Serena Williams. But Marion Bartoli and Noah Rubin have the opposite view; they feel the 23-time Grand Slam champion is better placed to add to her tally than Federer is.

During the latest Match Points episode, Rothenberg, Bartoli and Rubin were asked to pick one of Roger Federer or Serena Williams as the player more likely to win a Slam in 2021. Rothenberg, a renowned New York Times journalist, went with Roger Federer on the ground that Serena Williams is not confident about doing well at the business end of Slams anymore.

Rothenberg does reckon, however, that both Federer and Williams have their best chance of winning a Slam at Wimbledon.

“I think I'm going to pick Roger just because ironically I think Serena has come close too many times,” Rothenberg said. “I do feel like Serena, at some point in these late rounds, some sort of demons can creep up on her. If she gets into another final, she doesn't maybe trust herself as much in the final as Roger would."
"Both of them have their best shot at Wimbledon," Rothenberg added. "Roger was really lucky that his long injury layoff happened during the one year there was no Wimbledon. I don't discount either of their chances but I would give a slight edge to Roger.”
Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2017
Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2017

Rothenberg also feels that 2021 is the last chance for both Roger Federer and Serena Williams to add to their Grand Slam tally, given their age.

“Both turn 40 in 2021 I believe,” Rothenberg continued. “They're in uncharted territory. And it's going to be tough to see what happens with them, if they're able to keep contending, if the rest was good for both of them. Both played a pretty small schedule, even though obviously Serena played more, they both have had time to rest and heal this year. Is that going to help? Is that going to hurt? I don't know. I think 2021 is probably a last great shot for them to win a 24th Grand Slam for Serena and a 21st for Roger.”

World No. 250 Noah Rubin, however, was far more skeptical of Roger Federer's chances in 2021. Rubin questioned the 39-year-old's ability to withstand back-to-back best-of-five matches against top-ranked players.

“I would say Serena right now,” Rubin said. “Looking at the group of guys coming up and it's there on the women as well, I just think the physicality is just a little bit extra on the men's side right now, especially in the best of five. I don't think even if you take out the next gen, which even if Federer gets through those matches but is beaten up, is he ready for Nadal or Djokovic? I don't know. That is an absolute hell of an effort to ask from him.”

I still see Roger Federer getting the title at Wimbledon: Marion Bartoli

Marion Bartoli picked Serena Williams over Roger Federer
Marion Bartoli picked Serena Williams over Roger Federer

Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli thinks that Roger Federer has it in him to win a record-extending 9th Wimbledon title. However, like Noah Rubin, she also opined that between him and Serena Williams, the latter is likelier to win another Slam.

Bartoli cited the American's recent record in the Majors as a reason for her belief.

“I think she has been so close, so many times lately that she probably has a better shot than Roger but I still see Roger at Wimbledon putting seven great matches together on grass courts and just getting the title,” Bartoli said. “I mean he was so close against Novak Djokovic. Having two match points, you can't really move like that. But most likely Serena.”
Published 10 Dec 2020
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